Education and Facts

It seems that the current goal of most educational programs and institutions in the world is to teach people as many facts as possible.   Now I am talking about the facts that are “accepted” definitions that you can look up in encylopedias and dictionaries.

Although it is essential to develop a vocabulary in a certain subject to understand it a deeper level, I think that the goal of education should be to inspire questions and further about a subject rather than sterile knowledge.  Science classes are especially tagged with this stigma, but all subjects are basically considered boring and uninteresting to most students and for good reason.

I think that education needs to be geared to teaching (critical) thinking skills rather than simple teaching facts.  The facts of a subject should and will naturally be a secondary ‘byproduct’ education that teaches how to think critically.

Another problem with the current educational system is that teaches people what to think about. Although I think it is important to have ‘subjects’ like science and history, but these should course should be used a setting to develop critical thinking skills.  Rather than emphasizing what a book was about and what the theme was and what symbolism was used and how the character progressed through the story, we should emphasize how literature can be used to help us understand the world from a different perspective by looking at the experience of the characters.  Instead of emphasizing how a spring force is proportional to how much it is stretched and that this is called Hooke’s Law, we should emphasize that the process of  learning how the physical world works gives you valuable problem sovling skills that can be applied to so many things.

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3 Responses to Education and Facts

  1. deadondres says:

    “now wait a minute what the hell does chopping trees have to do with culinary?”

    This has given me a lot of inspiration.

    It also got me thinking…if kids aren’t encouraged to think critically, is the institutional function of school to discourage ideas outside the norm and force passive acquiescence to the powers-that-be?

    If children accept facts without challenging them personally, without a strong sense of skepticism, they can still obtain the knowledge to construct an industrial society without any concept of its social and psychological consequence.

    A great example is engineering school – they teach the student how to build bombs and coal plants (renewable energy is largely on the periphery) – and make good money doing it – without any knowledge of how to dismantle them in their own minds.

    • activephilosophy says:

      This is just a chilling example of how fucked up this attitude can be. This has been around the internet for awhile but still doesn’t cease to amaze me.

      I am not sure if it is a master plan to discourage critical thinking, or if it is just they way things have become from generations of living spoiled, lazy, take-everything-for-granted lives. But maybe LOC is right, “”We figured out a long time ago that it’s much easier to control people when we’re all watching the same T.V. shows, listening to the same radio stations, going to the same movies, looking at the same billboards, eating the same food, and speaking the same language.”

      It just seems to me that the starting point or an essential component to bettering the future is to teach the value of personal fact-finding and skepticism. I almost feel that everything else about bettering the world would simply “fall-out” naturally if EVERYBODY thought critically for themselves.

  2. Pingback: Another Sign that We Need to Re-educate Ouselves « Active Philosophy

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